If you’re someone who enjoys spending long hours at the gym or at least chatting it up with the guys over in the power lifting section, you may have come across a lifting program known as the Sheiko Program
It sounds a bit foreign…maybe even Asian, and yet some of the guys may swear their weight lifting lives by it.
Of course, these guys likely seem to spend their entire day at the gym, so either they are nuts to put in those kinds of long hours, or they are onto something.
Which one is it?
Well, it may just depend on, as Obi-Wan Kenobi so elegantly put it “…a certain point of view.”
So what exactly is Sheiko, what does it require you to do and should you even consider it?
Let’s dive head first into the weight lifting program to shed a bit of light on it and answer your lingering questions.
Mr. Sheiko Himself
So, let’s get into the man who created the Sheiko Program before actually diving into the lifting program.
If you thought Sheiko sounded Asian, you’d be a bit off.
Boris Sheiko is a Russian powerlifting coach. The very notion of him being a Russian powerlifting coach may earn him some bonus points in your book, simply based on how dominant Russian powerlifters are throughout world competitions.
However, Boris is so much more than just a guy screaming at his students to power through the last rep.
Boris is actually considered a “Professor of Powerlifting” in Russia. According to his website (which naturally is selling him as a teacher and his product, so take it with a grain of salt), he is the only person in Russia who holds such a title.
As you don’t really go to college in order to receive a Ph.D. in powerlifting, we’re not exactly how Russia hands out its professor titles, but we’ll just go with the flow on this one.
After all, he has published 15 books and over 150 articles on powerlifting, so the guy knows his stuff (Sheiko Program, 2017).
Mr. “The Professor of Powerlifting” Sheiko coached the Russian national powerlifting team from 1999 to 2005, where it was undefeated throughout all international competitions, including 7 European and world championships.
Every single athlete on his lifting team went home with at least a bronze medal.
The Sheiko Program Routines
The Sheiko Program is unique in that it is actually created by a powerlifter for powerlifters.
Far too many of the other workout routines you’ll find out there are not designed for lifters of this caliber. It may be an all around workout routine or something designed to target certain areas of the body, but the workouts are not specific for powerlifters and constructed by a powerlifter.
With his established pedigree and ability to boost training potential in nearly everyone he works with, the Sheiko Program offers results, as long as you are willing to put in a considerable amount of work.
We’ll get into the basic routines in a moment, but first, it is necessary to understand there is not just one program. There are dozens of different workout routines, each of which are designed to improve a certain element of your own lifting potential. If you have maxed yourself out with a different powerlifting routine, there is a specific routine for you.
If you are strong but lack perfect form, there is a workout routine for that. If you are on the weaker side but possess excellent form there is a routine for this as well. When digging deeper into a Sheiko Program, you need to know there is likely one more tailored to your needs.
If you are on the weaker side but possess excellent form there is a routine for this as well. When digging deeper into a Sheiko Program, you need to know there is likely one more tailored to your needs.
Now, building on the tailored to your needs element, while there is a routine you’ll likely fit into, it is important to evolve and adapt the lifting routine as you go along.
This is an important part of the Sheiko Program.
No two bodies are the same, and as such, no two workout routines need to be exactly the same as well. So, after you begin on the initial workout, you’ll want to evolve your program to fit your individual needs.
Like the Gym? You’ll Love This Workout
There are plenty of workouts out there that say you don’t need to spend hours at the gym.
Others state if you’re spending this kind of time at the gym you likely are wasting most of your time or you’re over-training parts of your body, which in turn can cause problems as well and reduce potential gains. With that said, welcome to the Sheiko Program. You likely are going to spend a good amount of time at the gym here. As in you probably will spend at least two hours a pop at the gym.
However, you’ll only go to the gym three times a week. The days off are designed to give your body ample recovery time.
Recovery time is vital in boosting your powerlifting goals as you work your muscles hard, and as such your muscles need time to repair.
So, if you’ve ever wondered why the people who clamor to the Sheiko Program seem to always be at the gym, this is why.
A Quick Word Before Beginning and Who Should Avoid the Workout
You’re going to lift a lot in the Sheiko Program.
If you really want to boost your powerlifting numbers this is a great routine.
However, you will need someone there with you.
This is not something you can do on your own. You will hit the point of failure on nearly every exercise, and likely multiple times. Due to this, if you are a lone gym rat who likes to get in and get out on your own, well this workout is not for you. It is always best to do it with a coach, but if you don’t have a coach, do it with someone you trust as a spotter because they will be needed.
In reality, this workout is designed specifically for the powerlifter. If you’re not looking to boost powerlifting gains, or if you don’t want to spend hours at the gym every other day, you’ll want to skip this.
There are plenty of other workout routines for you to consider instead.
Who Should Consider The Routine?
The Sheiko Program is made specifically for powerlifters.
That is, if you want to focus on the competitive, Olympic lifts, this may be right for you.
There are several programs out there to consider and this is one of the best. However, you will spend a good amount of time at the gym during workout days, so if you don’t have the time to put in long hours (you’ll likely be there 2-3 hours if not longer, depending on how busy the gym is), you may want to look towards another lifting program.
On the other hand, if you have been working in different powerlifting programs and have found you’re leveling off in terms of lifting gains, you need to shake things up a bit.
Your body has adapted to how you lift and it no longer is being challenged. Even if you just use the six-week program and then go back to your original lifting regimen, it may be enough to confuse the muscles and allow you to continue on towards your lifting potential.
So basically, if you’re a powerlifter, this is a program you should consider.
If not, look elsewhere.
Focus On Technique
To maximize your gains, you need to focus on technique. It is always best to go lighter until you master a lifting technique before adding weight.
The Sheiko Program focuses on technique.
This is a major reason why it is always recommended to look for a Sheiko coach instead of just diving in. This is because the technique is everything and you may not realize what you’re doing is incorrect.
Plus, technique between different lifters is going to vary. Technique for a weightlifter, powerlifter and bodybuilder will vary slightly because the end goals are a bit different. For example, a bodybuilder wants to increase muscle size, a weightlifter is going to focus on improving lifts such as a clean and jerk while a powerlifter wants to increase the weight.
Due to this, the exact movement and form will shift ever so slightly. The Sheiko Program focuses on these variations in order to maximize the potential of a powerlifter.
Again, this is why the program is designed for powerlifters and not just for the average person going to the gym (Science Strength, 2016)
The Six Week Novice Routine
As there are dozens of routines, we could write a few books on the different variations and routine options.
Instead, we’ll just look at the six-week novice routine, which should give you a good idea as to what to expect from the other programs.
You’ll lift on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. During the first week, you’ll start off with the box squat. You’ll perform two sets of six reps, followed by six sets of five reps. Next up is the dumbbell bench, which you’ll perform six sets of eight reps.
This is then followed by dumbbell flies, which you’ll perform five sets of 10 reps each. Now you do pull-ups if six sets at six reps each and finish off the day with the hanging leg raises. You’ll do five sets of eight reps on each leg.
As you can see from the initial Monday workout, while you only perform five exercises, you’ll perform a considerable number of sets and reps. You’ll want to focus on 50-70% of your max with these lifts.
If you find one particular lift too easy, especially in the later sets, you need to increase the weight.
Wednesday lifts include the incline bench, which you’ll do seven sets of four reps each. Then pushups of six sets of eight reps, followed by four sets of five reps with the rack pulls, You’ll then perform five sets of five rep lunges and four sets of 10 reps with hyper extensions.
On Friday, you’ll return to the box squat, perform one set of six reps and then seven sets of five reps. Follow this with the closed grip bench press, where you’ll perform three sets of six reps and five sets of five reps.
Next, hit up the dumbbell flies with five sets of 10 reps and the seated good morning lift with five reps of five sets.
To finish it all up, you want to play 30 minutes of some sport. This can be anything from basketball to tennis to badminton. Really whatever keeps your heart pumping (Power Lifting Towin, 2014).
This is just the first week of the six weeks Sheiko Novice Program. The remaining five weeks is similar to this, requiring you to perform a large number of sets and reps.
If you are interested in starting up the routine, make sure to give yourself plenty of time at the gym (we recommend hitting up the gym really early in the morning for this, in order to get it out of the way before the throng of basic gym goers fill up the facility… the last thing you want is someone giving you the evil eye as you move onto your seventh set on the incline bench).
The Sheiko Program is a unique powerlifting program in that it was designed by an expert powerlifter.
Now, we only focused on a small portion of one of the programs, but it is important to understand there are dozens of different variations available, and even within these variations you should adapt and evolve the program to better fit your needs. In reality, the Sheiko Program is not for everyone.
If you’re anyone but a powerlifter you may want to look elsewhere as these lifts are all designed to improve your deadlift, clean and jerk, squat and other competitive lifts.
However, if you are stuck on your current powerlifting goals and want a way to jump-start your gains, you may want to check this lifting program out.
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